This February, Looking For Juan celebrates National Arts Month by highlighting Filipino art through Quaderno's Page Talk—a series of conversations featuring the extraordinary talents shaping the present and future of Philippine art.
A current favorite in the art scene, Mark Jeffrey Santos creates creatures from worlds both real and imagined, assembling them into a universe where wide-eyed, childlike characters live hand in hand with flying fish, giant felines, and other magical beings.
Floating Down the River | acrylic on canvas (2020)
Santos moves with fluidity and assuredness in his character making and storytelling—partly due to his generative body of work in various forms of arts, including photography, film and video, graphic design, and traditional and digital art.
Below, the pop-surrealist—known for his character and moniker Mister S or Mister Sasquatch—talks briefly with Looking for Juan about his artmaking and the role of the Filipino artist.
What inspires or motivates you to create?
"I am motivated and inspired by the urge to paint and the fun and challenges that come with it. It also motivates me to create more when people connect with my work."
What does your art represent?
"I believe that art should be sincere in order to connect with the audience. I find sincerity in introspection. So my art represents myself and my own life experiences."
Is This Our Future? | acrylic on canvas (2020)
How can art influence change?
"Art that affects people, whether in a good or bad way, can influence change."
What's the role of Filipino artists in this time of misinformation, division, and pandemic?
"Since artists have the ability to influence people somehow, they have a responsibility to use their creativity to give hope amid this pandemic. Artists can also use their creative voices to educate those who are misinformed.
In my experience in the art scene, I noticed that most of the time, art cultivates unity—and it is what we need right now."
Stay at Home | acrylic on canvas (2020)
Inspired by Mark Jeffrey Santos' art? Support Philippine art while you write with Quaderno by Mark Jeffrey Santos, featuring four limited-edition notebooks designed in collaboration with Santos, created for the creatives and thinkers of tomorrow.
Untitled | acrylic on canvas (2020)
A part of the proceeds from Santos' Quaderno collection will go to book donations to children in disadvantaged communities in the Philippines in support of CANVAS' One Million Books for One Million Filipino Children Campaign.
Discover and shop the complete Quaderno collections of Marcel Antonio, Elmer Borlongan, June Digan, Jaime Pacena II, Beth Parrocha, Kevin Roque, Mark Jeffrey Santos, and Jomike Tejido below.